5 Steps to Spark Your Business Imagination
Some ideas will work, and others will fail. The goal, regardless of idea success or failure is to remain calm throughout the process. Often mistakes will lead to something bigger and better. EverythingBrevard.com is a perfect example of this. We launched the EverythingBrevard.com brand in 2011, but it is a culmination of an idea and work that started in fall of 2005.
When the lightbulb went off, the vision was crystal clear. I knew exactly what to do and how to do it. While assembling my team and developing my processes and systems, I was blindsided — the entire business plan that I had outlined with the marketing company I had hired to assist in bringing my vision to life was highjacked. Multiple attorneys said it was theft of intellectual property but because I didn’t have the proper paperwork in place (non-competes and confidentiality agreements) there was nothing I could do.
Imagine, if you will, the pain, anger and embarrassment that flowed through my veins. I felt stupid, duped, and ashamed that I didn’t know better. That I wasn’t prepared to protect the dream and vision that God had placed in my heart. I was paralyzed with fear. Afraid to move forward and had no one I could trust. It took six years and a master’s degree to recover and start fresh.
Today this story is what fuels my passion. Supporting, educating, and inspiring entrepreneurs to chase their dreams and share their stories is my jam! We all have stories to tell — some are like mine, some are fairy tales. Regardless of the journey, it is that story that takes you from concept to creation.
As entrepreneurs, we often get stuck in the day-to-day tasks of running our businesses. It can be overwhelming and downright taxing. This grind has the potential to shut down our creative energy and stop the flow of idea generation.
One of my strengths is helping entrepreneurs come up with new creative ideas. My favorite way to spark imagination is through brainstorming and visualization. This activity encourages the thinking, organization and implementation of new concepts, processes, systems, and business strategies surrounding issues and opportunities we face in our business lives. It’s a great way to expand your thinking or refine a process and create a solid vision for your future or next steps. There is power in clarity.
To expand your range of ideas and spark your imagination, it’s important to carve out deliberate time and space for this creative work. It’s a process that requires trust, self-awareness, clear communication and honesty between you and your team. Being outside and embracing the natural elements of the earth are powerful when trying to clear your mind and get creative. Masterminds, mentors, networking and the art of learning new things are also great ways to open creative channels.
I love to unplug and move my body. It gets the energy flowing. I read books, look at magazines, cook new foods, drink coffee, and visit farmers markets. I meditate, listen to podcasts, and enjoy different genres of music. I’m curious about everything and ask lots of questions. All of which inspire my creative mind.
Here are five simple, but not easy, steps to consider when you’re looking to spark your imagination.
Step 1: Set aside deliberate time and space for creative thinking. This is when you begin to gather materials and thoughts to put together your idea. Let your mind wander and think outside the box.
Step 2: Get clear about the problem that you’re trying to solve or the outcome you’re trying to create. This is the brainstorming and visualization period where you’re molding all your thoughts and ideas.
Step 3: Next is the aha! moment where everything comes together and makes perfect sense. It may or may not be dramatic, but you will have clarity and know how to move forward.
Step 4: Involve critical thinking. This is where you may compare it to other solutions, get feedback from peer groups or friends. Maybe test the idea, or you may realize you need to go back to step one or two.
Step 5: The final stage is where you act and bring your idea to life. This is when you're finally able to share your idea with the world. You’ve written the story, launched a new product or service, created an event, or refined a process or system.
The hardest part of this process is taking the first step. Setting aside deliberate time and space is a challenge for everyone. We all have plenty of work to keep us busy for days. It’s important to trust the process and know that taking the time will benefit your bottom line in the long run.